Manchester United faced Charlton Athletic in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.
Erik ten Hag looked to build on his side’s current winning run to get past the League One opposition and proceed to the semi-finals of the competition.
Here are three things we learned from Manchester United’s 3-0 win against Charlton.
Dominant first half
United were by far the most exerting and superior side in the opening 45 minutes, as was majorly expected.
The Red Devils went into the break with a robust 73% of the ball to Charlton’s 27%. Ten Hag’s men also attempted 10 shots at goal compared to their opposition’s two shots.
United took the lead in the 21st minute through Antony who sublimely curled the ball with his left foot past a helpless Maynard-Brewer.
Beyond that, United also created a number of chances, which saw Fred hit the post from a wonderful free-kick effort.
Garnacho was lively from the left flank and caused Charlton’s defence problems with his pace and tricky feet.
On his senior competitive debut, Mainoo looked right at home and showed Ten Hag just why he was right to trust him in a game of such magnitude.
Defensively United were solid and limited Charlton’s attacking forays. The team never looked at any risk of conceding in the first period of the game.
Dalot’s injury adds to Ten Hag’s worries
In what was an emphatic first-half showing, the major downside was Diogo Dalot’s injury.
The Portuguese signalled to the bench and went off injured in the 32nd minute before being replaced by Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Hopefully, the defender being taken off was just a precaution and he’s back in action sooner rather than later.
However, if he’ll be sidelined for another spell, Ten Hag will have to do with a squad stripped to the bare bones. Dalot’s injury would represent a big blow, especially with Manchester City and Arsenal coming up next.
Wan-Bissaka, who is rumoured to be on the way out of Old Trafford, would be the only other player naturally suited to the position.
The Englishman did well during Dalot’s absence but there are still numerous doubts regarding his suitability for Ten Hag’s brand of football.
Dalot would be the latest player to be unavailable after Donny van de Beek injured himself against Bournemouth.
Depending on how long he’s out, it may become necessary for Ten Hag to dip into the market for a right-sided fullback – something that may prove difficult amidst United’s cash struggles and difficulties in operating in the January transfer window.
Elanga below par
United’s worst player on the pitch was Elanga.
The Swede started in his favoured central striker role but did not do himself any favours.
He looked out of sync with his teammates and lacked any presence. When he was shifted to the right on Rashford’s introduction, he was also anonymous.
On a night when Antony and Garnacho did well, Elanga will undoubtedly be ruing a missed opportunity to give Ten Hag something to think about.
Against Charlton where he would have been expected to star, Elanga did not look like a United player.
Unfortunately for him, this has been a recurring theme all season. Elanga was substituted in the 84th minute and replaced by Facundo Pellistri.
The Uruguayan provided an assist for Rashford within minutes of being on the pitch – more than Elanga did the entire time he was in play.